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Survey: PTSD patients in Minnesota report benefits from using medical marijuana

It follows a survey of 751 patients with PTSD.

A majority of patients using medical marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder reported a high level of benefit from the drug, according to a recent Minnesota Department of Health survey.

The survey examined 751 who enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program citing PTSD. Of those patients, 96 percent met the diagnosis threshold of 33 severity points for PTSD.

Three months later, 71 percent of patients saw an improvement in their score by at least 10 points.

Asked to rate their benefits on a scale of one to seven with one being no benefit, 76 percent of patients rated their experience as a six or seven.

Around one fifth of patients reported side effects like increased anxiety, and 4 percent ranked their experience as a one, two or three.

Common benefits patients cited included reduced anxiety and pain, improved sleep or mood and mood regulation. A survey given to healthcare practitioners indicated similar results.

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“This study shows many patients with PTSD enrolled in the program are experiencing substantial benefits,” said Dr. Tom Arneson, research manager with the MDH Office of Medical Cannabis in a press release.

"It is particularly encouraging to read comments from some patients that their participation in the program has made their engagement with other therapies for PTSD more feasible or more effective."

PTSD became a condition qualifying for the state’s medical cannabis program in 2016, with the first patients receiving the drug in August 2017. There were 2,873 PTSD patients enrolled in the program as of May 23. 

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